San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome

San Pietro in Vincoli (Saint Peter in Chains) is a minor basilica in Rome that houses St. Peter's chains and Michelangelo's famous Moses statue.


History of San Pietro in Vincoli

The basilica was first built in the middle of the 5th century to house the relic of the chains that bound Saint Peter while imprisoned in Jerusalem, given to Pope Leo I by Empress Eudoxia (wife of Emperor Valentinian III).

According to legend, when the pope held them next to the chains from of Peter's first imprisonment in the Mamertine Prison in Rome, the two chains miraculously fused together.

The basilica has undergone several restorations and rebuildings, including a restoration by Pope Adrian I, a rebuilding by Pope Sixtus IV and another by Pope Julius II. There was also a renovation in 1875. Some modernizations were made at that time.

What to See at San Pietro in Vincoli

The chains said to have held Peter in Rome and Jerusalem are kept in a reliquary under the main altar in the basilica.

Michelangelo's magnificent Moses, which dates from 1515, is the most notable piece of artwork in the basilica. It was originally intended as part of a 40-statue funeral monument for Pope Julius II.

Getting There

From the V. Cavour Metro station, cross the boulevard and walk up the flight of stairs. Turn right into the piazza; the church is on the left.

Quick Facts on San Pietro in Vincoli

Site Information
Names:San Pietro in Vincoli · St. Peter in Chains
Categories:churches; shrines
Dedication: St. Peter
Dates:5th C; later renovations
Status: active
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:41.893573° N, 12.493354° E
Address:Piazza San Pietro in Vincoli 4A
Rome, Italy
Hours:Spring/summer: daily 7am-12:30pm and 3:30-7pm
Autumn/winter: closes at 6pm
Lodging:View hotels near San Pietro in Vincoli
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


  1. St. Peter in Chains (San Pietro in Vincoli) - Frommer's Attraction Review
  2. San Pietro in Vincoli - Fodor's Online Travel Guide

More Information

Aerial view of San Pietro in Vincoli. © Holly Hayes
St. Peter's chains enshrined at the Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli. © GFDL
statue (1515). © Prasenberg

Map of San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome

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